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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Armenian Genocide centennial commemorated in Egypt

Egyptian Armenians march in Cairo, Pope Tawadros II travels to Yerevan in memorial of the 1.5 million Armenians killed by Ottaman Turks in 1915

Zeinab El-Gundy , Friday 24 Apr 2015
Arnenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)
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Dozens from Egypt's Armenian community gathered on Friday at Cairo's Unknown Soldier Memorial to commemorate a hundred years since the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

Boy and girl scouts from Egypt's Armenian Orthodox Church walked to the monument holding Egyptian and Armenian flags, as well as banners in Arabic in remembrance of the victims of the first genocide of the twentieth century, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman forces.  

Members of Armenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)

Following the killings of 1915, thousands of Armenians arrived in Egypt as refugees, swelling the ranks of an Armenian community already long present in the country, especially since the early 19th century under Mohamed Ali.

On Thursday, the Armenian Orthodox Church in downtown Cairo held a special service to commemorate the genocide, during which the church bells rang 100 times to mark the anniversary at 5:15 PM, just like all other Armenian churches across the world, except in Turkey.  

While world leaders including the Russian and French presidents attended the official commemoration of the genocide in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Friday, neither Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who had been invited, nor Egypt’s ambassador to Yerevan Alaa El-Lithy Nassef attended, according to the Egyptian press.

The head of Egypt's Coptic Church Pope Tawadros II, members of Egypt's Armenian community and 115 Egyptian journalists travelled to Armenia instead.

Pope Tawadros II told the press that his visit was purely out of support from one church to another and without political motive.   

Officially, Egypt has not yet recognised the Armenian Genocide, but its government did however recently condemn Turkey's long-standing refusal to admit to its crimes against the Armenian people. 

Relations between Cairo and Ankara have soured since the ouster of former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, who was a close ally of Turkey's Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish leader has insisted that the ouster of the democratically-elected Islamist president in July 2013 amounted to a military coup.

Members of Armenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)

Members of Armenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)

Members of Armenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)

Members of Armenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)

Members of Armenian Community in Egypt
Members of Armenian Community in Egypt commemorate the centennial anniversary of Armenian Genocide at Egypt's Unknown Solider Memorial in Cairo on Friday (Photo: Kegham Karsian)

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